HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) is the most popular audio and video interface in the world today, and that’s not surprising at all. Despite being proprietary, the standard has gotten extremely popular over the years due to the rise of high definition monitors TVs and is expected to skyrocket again with the coming popularity of 4K.
Why you should upgrade to HDMI 2.1
With the coming of next-generation consoles, having a TV or monitor that supports HDMI is very important. However, to be more specific, one would need to have a device that supports HDMI 2.1, the newest version of the standard.
In this article, we are going to explain why version 2.1 is so important and whether or not you should upgrade your current devices to take advantage of what it has to offer.
- HDMI 2.1 supports dynamic HDR
- Support for Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM)
- More pixels due to higher bandwidth
- Support for Variable Refresh Rate (VRR)
- Let us take a look at Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC)
Let’s take a look at this from a more detailed perspective, shall we?
1] HDMI 2.1 supports dynamic HDR
HDR stands for High Dynamic Range, which the previous version of HDMI supported. However, when it comes down to dynamic HDR, only version 2.1 supports this in the best possible way without running out of bandwidth.
You see, this new HDR delivers a lot more information to the television; therefore, content should look much better.
Both the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 will support HDMI 2.1, and will likely be the driving force behind its adoption.
2] Support for Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM)
When you fire up your next-generation console, you will need to have the fastest possible response time, and not every TV can deliver that. With ALLM in action, gamers should have little problems when playing their favorite games.
There will be no need to activate Game Mode at all, just jump in and play and watch your problems disappear.
3] More pixels due to higher bandwidth
One of the best things about HDMI 2.1 is the ability for it to deliver more pixels and higher bandwidth. You see, HDMI 1.4 bandwidth maxes out at 10.2 Gbits per second, while version 2.0 can only hit 18 Gbits per second. However, version 2.1 is far more significant because it maxes out at 48 Gbits per second.
Because of this impressive speed, folks should have little problems playing back 8K content in the future. Microsoft has made it clear that the Xbox Series X is not only a 4K console but one that can achieve 8K as well.
This speed also improves the frames per second gamers should expect. If your TV or monitor doesn’t support the new HDMI 2.1 standard, then don’t expect to play some game at 120FPS, but rather 60FPS instead.
Not long-ago Microsoft announced that Gears of War 5, in multiplayer, will support 120FPS, and only version 2.1 of the HDMI standard can make it happen for you.
4] Support for Variable Refresh Rate (VRR)
When it comes down to gaming, the frame rate is critical, especially to gamers who play competitively. Now, as we might already know, the refresh rate your TV or monitor supports is measured in hertz, and it is all about the number of times the panel refreshes per second.
If the refresh rate of the TV is not the same as frames per second being delivered by the game, then screen tearing will likely take place. To mitigate this, NVIDIA decided to create G-Sync, while AMD chose to develop Free-Sync.
However, the folks behind HDMI 2.1 want to do their own thing with VRR. For the most part, it works the same as the ones we mentioned above, and both the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 will support it.
5] Let us take a look at Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC)
The death of the optical audio cable began a long time ago, but HDMI 2.1 sets out to deliver the killing blow. With support for eARC, the new standard can provide audio to your surround sound system without additional cables.
It is smart enough to make sure audio is sent to the correct output without issues. This is great, and we only expect it to get better as times go by.
Overall, one should not expect HDMI 2.1 to take off right away since most televisions that support the standard are too expensive to acquire by many potential buyers. For now, we can only wait patiently for prices to fall.